Liam Squires, Virginia Fifth Grader, Is Celebrated for Spotting Error in Science Textbook!

A colorful textbook page depicts the rock cycle. Bright red arrows point to the errors made.

Dear Commons Community,

Todd Feltman sent this story along to me this morning.

Liam Squires, like many students, usually answers the question “How was school today?” with an evasive answer along the lines of “I don’t know.”

This is why weeks passed before his mother, Megan Squires, learned that he had spotted an error in a science textbook that the publisher, dozens of students and his own teacher had missed.  As reported by the Fauquier Times and The New York Times.

Liam, 10, had noticed that two rocks were misplaced in a diagram of the rock cycle. The significance of his discovery was not clear to his mother until months later in March, when Liam was praised by the school district superintendent and received a letter from the textbook’s publisher.

Liam saw the mistake toward the end of a school day at H.M. Pearson Elementary School in Catlett, Va., about 50 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

“I was just going through it, and since we had only recently first learned about the rock cycle, I remembered it pretty good,” Liam said. “And I was like, ‘That isn’t right,’ when I saw the error.”

For those who may need a refresher on the rock cycle, it is the process that explains how the three main types of rocks — igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary — form and transform, according to the University of California, Berkeley.

In the review section of the “Exploring Science All Around Us” textbook that Liam’s class used, the sedimentary rock and igneous rock were swapped into the wrong spots in the rock cycle. The Fauquier Times reported on Liam’s discovery.

He immediately told his teacher, Serena Porter, who at first thought that there could not be an error in the textbook and worried that she had been incorrectly teaching the rock cycle.

Then, she looked more closely at the diagram.

“My eyes have been on that page, and other adult eyes, and no one saw that,” Ms. Porter said. “I was just blown away that he had found it.”

God bless how smart our children are!



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